A Scan of Critical World Developments
Industrial Agriculture: Debugging Can Crash the System
Industrial agriculture may be bad for humans, but it’s catastrophic for the bees, birds, and bats that pollinate our crops. According to a new report by a UN-affiliated research group, pollinators are in big trouble: 16 percent of vertebrate species (mostly birds and bats) and 9 percent of bee and butterfly species are under threat of extinction. Monocropping and land conversions for farming have been decreasing the patches of wildflowers and cover crops on which many pollinators depend for food. Exposure to pesticides and climate change, which alters plants’ flowering times, further exacerbate the situation. The impact could be far-reaching and severe, since 35 percent of global crop production, valued at up to $577 billion a year, relies on pollinators. This tragedy offers yet another reason why the world urgently needs to shift away from industrial agriculture to an ecological alternative. Adequately feeding the growing population of the future may depend on it.